Exhibit / May 3, 2017
Object Name: Photo insert from Another Page LP by Christopher Cross
Maker and Year: Warner Bros. Records, Matthew Rolston (photographer), Francie Moore (set styling), 1983
Object Type: Album photo insert
Image Source: High-resolution image courtesy Audio Preservation Fund (Wayback Machine link)
Description: (Michael Grasso)
Christopher Cross was faced with a tall order in trying to follow up his colossal hit debut LP, Christopher Cross (1979). The album spawned four Top 20 singles and dominated the 23rd Annual Grammys, and Cross hit again in the fall of 1981 with “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do),” from the Arthur soundtrack. After a couple of years away from the spotlight, Cross returned in 1983 with his sophomore effort Another Page. While Another Page wasn’t the blockbuster smash that his debut was, Cross scored three Top 40 hits, including “Think Of Laura,” which was used to promote the massively-popular daytime soap opera General Hospital and its “Luke and Laura” plotline. (Previous songs that had benefited from exposure via Luke and Laura hype include Herb Alpert’s “Rise” (1979) and Patti Austin’s and James Ingram’s 1982 duet “Come To Me.”)
Cross had actually written “Think Of Laura” as a tribute to a friend, Laura Carter, who had died in a random shooting. Cross asked Paige McNinch, his girlfriend at the time and Carter’s college roommate, to appear in the insert photo included in the Another Page LP. This image was later used as cover art for the “Think of Laura” single; the sunny optimism and relaxed cool of the image make for an intriguing contrast with the tragic story. With the positive, uplifting songs on Another Page, epitomized by the hit “All Right,” it’s safe to say that the theme of rising above adversity had become a lyrical trademark of sorts for Cross. Indeed, the entire world of “smooth rock” of the late ’70s and early ’80s can be seen as a reaction to the economic and social malaise the U.S. was experiencing at the time.
The visual impact of this very 1983 tableau is striking. Salmon pink is everywhere: the ceiling, the walls, the French doors, Cross’s shirt and pants, the ubiquitous flamingos, even the cocktail and the vase of flowers at the mini bar. The flamingo had become Cross’s emblem of sorts; it was used on the covers of three of his first four albums, excepting only his 1985 LP Every Turn of the World, where he took on the persona of a Formula One driver in an attempt to change his image. While Cross assures us the flamingo has no special secret significance, it is worth mentioning that in less than a year, subtropical chic in the form of breezy, pastel fashions and flocks of flamingos would become a pop culture phenomenon thanks to NBC’s program about “MTV Cops,” Miami Vice (1984-1989). Cross, McNinch, and set stylist Francie Moore were ahead of their time.
The rest of the interior decor of this photo is worth mentioning. The overwhelming presence of bamboo in the chairs, table, and mini-bar takes us back to a period where wicker, rattan, and bamboo became popular materials for home decor. This was largely thanks to their popularization by retail outlets like Pier 1, which originated in the 1960s by selling hip professionals a mix of postwar South Pacific/late-Tiki style mixed with Asian style influences popular among the rising counterculture. The styling of the chair and table echo perhaps the most ubiquitous model of bamboo furniture of this period: the papasan chair. The framework of the French door leading out onto an exterior dominated by a blue sky and dotted with clouds evokes the aesthetic choices of the retro-pastiche musical genre, vaporwave.